After graduate school, Sharon and I moved to NY to join IBM. After 24 years and 7 months at an entirely enjoyable career, I became an independent contractor, which I have pursued now since May 1993. Indeed there is life after IBM. When our two sons, Roderic and Darin, were in high school, Sharon returned to her nursing career, which had been placed on hold when she first became pregnant. She continues to work in St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. We have been members of Fishkill Baptist Church for approximately 20 years where we continue to be active in many of the ministries and programs. We have now lived in Upstate New York for more than 35 years. Rod and Gretchen live in Livonia, MI, and Darin has a house just 15 minutes from theirs. They are all doing well in Michigan, and Sharon's parents, also living in Livonia, enjoy having them around.


On 10/10/00, Kaitlyn Faith was born to Rod and Gretchen, and Sharon and I really enjoy being proud grandparents. So there have been some major changes in our immediate family. Rod and Gretchen have a daughter, and Darin has a Corvette. Sharon and I got older, but it's not so noticeable. Our family picture of 2001 is no longer current, but we'll get another soon. And Katie is so much fun, we find ourselves travelling to Michigan almost every month.


It's hard to believe that the family has grown by one. Alyssa Danielle was born to Rod and Gretchen on 11/24/03 at Providence Hospital. Yes, Sharon and I arrived there that night to see her in the hospital. Already the two girls are dragging us to Detroit more than we are welcome by everyone else. Take a look at their picture taken in February when Alyssa was 3 months old and Katie was 3.


Several other things have changed. Sharon is now working at Vassar Hospital, after being at St. Francis Hospital for 23 years. Jerry is still working as an independent contractor, doing well at that, and also as the owner of Dutchess Flight, Inc., an aircraft leasing company, and also as the owner of Kammrath & Weiss, Inc., a company which specializes in Scanning Electron Microscopy and Focused Ion Beam accessories. Darin built a beautiful new house in Livonia and he also rents his first house for a little extra money to put gas in his new speedboat. Of course Rod and Gretchen are busy taking care of two little girls.


Is this a proud Gramma or what? Katie is four and Alyssa is one and Sharon and I get to see them about every other month. This time it was for a one-year-old birthday party. We also were around to help Darin with some of his medical adventures resulting from a serious accident and injury to both of his arms. We will not be in MI on Thanksgiving, 2004. We are planning for an extended visit during Christmas this year. Our previous visit in October 2004 included a visit with Judy from WA and a surprise visit with Jim from AK. No problem picking up right where we left off, even though it has been many months. They and their families are doing well.


It turned out that Rod and Gretchen were busy at other things also, and they announced that a son was to be born in June 2005. While Gretchen was preparing for that delivery, they had a family picture taken and another picture taken of the two girls when they were all dressed up. Everybody was anxious for the baby to come.

Then on the evening of June 15, Gretchen went to the hospital and Corey David was born just before midnight. Sharon was in town, having planned to be there to help when he was born, but I had returned to NY a few days earlier. Lots of telephoning went on, the girls had a sleep-over with Gramma Sharon, and soon Gretchen and Corey got to go home. The next day Rod's whole family was home together just in time for the Heller grandparents to arrive fron NY. And Corey slept through most of the fun.

Corey New-Born

Well, time has gone by, and Darin's boat was no longer fast enough, so he imported a new one from Maryland. Take a look at it in drydock where he is doing some last minute repairs before he and Jerry take to the seas of Lake St. Clair. That's right, there are two propellors sticking out the rear, or is it the aft, each connected to its own V8 engine. It's not about comfort, it's about speed.

And Jerry returned from his second flight to the west coast. During this trip he visited customers, cousins, and got the annual inspection completed on the airplane in Newberg, OR by his good friend Robert Lind. After the completion of the annual, a quick flight north brought him to visit his sister Judy, and a few days later she helped him fuel the airplane to head back East.


And the grandkids are growing up. Corey now one year old, Katie finishing prekindergarten school, and Alyssa 2 1/2 years of wonder.






I pulled my most recent toy, which Katie and I used to take down three large trees at Sharon's folks house, back to NY to accomplish some projects here. I was using it in the hangar one day to fix the door motor and a guy stopped and asked me if it had more lift than the airplane. "It sure doesn't look like an airplane."




July 2008, and it's time to upload some more recent pictures, especially of the kids, who seem to be growing way too fast. But first, another development - Darin got engaged to Kathryn Liptak. They have been hangin' out for a couple years, and Darin finally popped the question. We are all so pleased that she said yes, and now we get another Katie in the family. Some call her Kate, some call her Katie, some call her Kathryn. We all went to one of her softball games, and the umpire called her out. And you can see why her left hand hangs so much lower than her right hand.




In January of 2009, Darin and Kathryn and a gang of friends and family took off for Marcos Island, FL. Darin and Kathryn had a beautiful ocean-side wedding, and we all had a wonderful celebration. They had their honeymoon in Australia the following November and returned for Christmas celebration with all of us to finish out 2009.



Christmas Card

Sharon and I have been in NY now for more than forty years, and we have been active in Fishkill Baptist Church for more than thirty of those years. Our boys have their own families and lives. We see them as often as we need to thaw out from the Upstate NY temps in the frigid MI temps. It is great to get together with the family when we can. My brother Jim is back in MI where his kids are and my sister Judy is in WA where much of her family is. Sharon's brothers' families are in the suburban Detroit area, and her parents are still chasing around there as well.

Family Church

On Friday, May 27, 2011, Kathryn and Darin had a baby boy named Easten Liptak Schick. Sharon and I were in MI, of course, for the big event. Easten had a few medical complications, but before long Kathryn and Darin were getting the hang of having a new baby in the house. Cheryl and Jan Liptak, Kathryn's parents were in MI and we all had a lengthy celebration.


It didn't take long for Easten to get the hang of life, and he soon took over the activities of the house on Oporto. Kathryn and Darin became great parents and everyone doted on the new baby in the family.


Not long and Easten was one year old. Rod and Gretchen had established a Day Care center in their home, and soon Easten became one of their clients. What nicer arrangement could there be than for an uncle to have his nephew spend the majority of the week day in his care. Rod and Gretchen do a great job with the children in their care, and Easten fits right in perfectly. This was an especially comforting set-up for Darin and Kathryn.


One of the activities that was especially enjoyable for Jerry was his involvement in the Vacation Bible School at the church. The theme was called "SKY" and it centered on aspects of aviation. So Jerry and his brother got a Cessna 150, a two passenger single engine airplane, and prepared it for delivery to the church in NY. Jerry brought it from Jim's house in MI to NY, and further prepared it for the VBS debut. Who would have imagined a real airplane on the front lawn of the church? The people wondered how it happened, the workers had a great time showing it off, and the community had many surprised and interested gawkers, most wanting to get pictures. "How did you land that airplane on the lawn with all those trees and the church steeple?" All the spectators were welcomed to VBS, and all kids, and many adults, got their pictures taken in the airplane. Most kids had never seen a real private airplane up close, let alone touch it and sit in it.





If it's not airplanes, it's boats. If not boats it's kids and party times at Grimm. And all the while everyone is busy and involved in all kinds of activities. Jerry and Sharon are spending about half time in NY and half time in MI. Rod and Gretchen are busy with their Day Care, and Darin and Kathryn are busy at lots of things. Soon they greet Ashlyn Ann, a beautiful baby sister for Easten.




So there you have it, our family at the present time. Usually one or two are missing. This time everyone is there. When Sharon and Jerry are both in MI, we can usually find a reason to get together for a meal, or for some other reason with something edible close-by.